Winter tourism is gaining momentum with new ski workers


Honorable Stuart Nash
Minister of Tourism

Winter tourism is benefiting from a government decision allowing 275 experienced workers to enter the country to support companies operating ski areas and winter sports destinations.

The government has announced new immigration arrangements for the ski sector which come into force as New Zealand prepares to welcome the first Australian arrivals tomorrow.

“We look forward to welcoming Australia’s first tourists as we reconnect to the world,” said Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

“Our reopening of borders comes at the perfect time for Australian school holidays and will further boost our economic recovery, especially for workers, businesses and communities that depend on international visitors.

“We know that once the ski and winter sports season kicks off around June, many of our Trans-Tasman neighbors will be the first to hit the slopes in search of winter adventures.

“Winter is traditionally the quietest time for international visitors, but it’s peak excitement in the mountains as snow tourism comes alive. Australian visitors will be hugely important during the ski season.

“We have made an exception to the usual border rules so that the ski industry can recruit winter sports instructors, ski patrollers and safety specialists, groomer and snowmaking operators, as well as ski lift and winter sports technicians.

“Tourism New Zealand has worked alongside employers and businesses in our iconic winter holiday destinations to help them reconnect to the world. This immigration decision is the direct result of a partnership between government and industry.

Ski resorts and winter sports destinations need more qualified technicians and experienced workers to ensure the operational safety of winter resorts, so that visitors not only have a good time, but are well treated.

“These are highly skilled roles that require professional qualifications and where experience has been gained over several seasons on the World Ski Tour in places like Europe and North America.

“A lift technician, for example, needs a trade-specific qualification in mechanical or electrical engineering, or a specialization in lift machinery. They must have at least two years of relevant post-qualification work experience and specialize as a cable splicer, diesel mechanic, ski lift mechanic or electrician.

“Kiwis fill the majority of ski and snow sports positions. However, there are not enough premises with the required skills, certification or experience to meet short-term seasonal needs.

“The ski industry has worked hard to sustain its workforce and attract more Kiwi workers through initiatives such as supporting training and qualification costs, and benefits such as accommodation. and transportation. But training and qualifications take time.

“Tourism New Zealand is also working alongside the ski sector and winter destinations to attract more people here for winter working holidays across the See you downstairs marketing campaign.

“Immigration NZ has now approved around 3,500 new working holiday visas for young people from Europe and North America since the scheme reopened just a month ago, in addition to the 18,000 working holiday visas that have been extended.

“Before the pandemic, around 160,000 Australians visited in winter 2019. During the winter months of June to August 2019, Australian visitors spent over $211 million, or around 40% of all tourist spending international.

“It’s great to welcome our Australian friends this week, and we expect that once the ski season begins in June, many will head straight to the slopes for an exhilarating Kiwi break,” said Stuart Nash .

As part of the class exception to immigration rules, the ski industry has agreed to pay at least the median wage of $27 an hour for these roles. This is in line with the requirements of the new accredited employer work visa which will come into effect on July 4th.

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